Thirza is a valued member.

“Thirza Armstrong is a valued member of the Guelph Tool Library team” says John Dennis, Guelph Tool Library Coordinator, “she sits on the Steering Committee, coordinates a number of projects, is a librarian, fundraiser, and provides her artistic and creative flair to all her work.”

But that is not all.

Thirza created the Guelph Tool Library’s Podcast, the Crows Nest.  John shares “Thirza took the idea of “lets have a podcast” to a full season of interesting interviews and conversations.  The podcast is thoughtful and Thirza brings her own unique and interesting perspective to each episode.”  The Crow’s Nest is available on Substack and Apple Podcasts and was picked up and broadcast on CFRU Radio in the fall of 2020.  Thirza is currently working on season two and leading the design and fundraising for a podcast studio at the Guelph Tool Library (GTL). 

Over the past few years, Thirza has been involved in many projects at the Guelph Tool Library. Assisting with craft and art courses for at risk youth, welcoming visitors to Repair Cafes, sorting through recycled toys and books for the Re:Purpose Fest.

Incredible volunteer impact by Thirza’s efforts and her volunteer experience is reciprocal. “I got involved with the GTL in 2018 as a broke university student in need of a slow cooker. I’d known about the GTL but couldn’t afford a membership. The Two Rivers Neighbourhood Group was kind enough to lend me their slowcooker   and offered me a membership to the GTL” share Thirza, “I hadn’t been involved with non-profits before and I was blown away by the dedication that the volunteers show towards their cause and community and wanted to be a part of it.”

From slow cooker to sustainability, Thirza has felt aligned and connected with the work of the Guelph Tool Library. “In January of 2020 we hosted a clothing swap. It was my first independent action as a steering committee member of the GTL. My sustainability journey began with trying to avoid fast fashion, so it was a really meaningful event for me to be able to run” says Thirza, “I’d never done anything like it before and was secretly very anxious that it would be a giant bust, but we had a great turn out! People left happy with a more sustainable closet, and it was empowering to know I had helped keep these items in our local circular economy.”

Circular economy. Community. Connections.  

“I’ve loved watching the GTL grow, change and establish itself in the Guelph community” Thirza continues, “It’s been an incredibly rewarding and sufficiently challenging experience. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by passionate people working hard to take care of others and the environment. Our members are kind and inspiring, I love to hear about their projects and learning from them (as they often know far more about our tools than I do). I’ll always be thankful to have spent such an important time in my life at an organization that encourages me to do my best by others. If you’re looking for a supportive community to do good in the world, look no further than the Guelph Tool Library.”

Doing good in the world through a variety of unique and interesting projects including the ‘Pin a Smile On’ program. Thirza coordinates the program that provides free photo buttons to volunteers in Guelph who are wearing masks.

Thirza receives the photos at [email protected], edits them, creates the buttons, and distributes them back to volunteers. To date over 250 buttons have been created and the project is well on the way to the goal of creating 500 buttons that is aimed at spreading smiles and connections. 

“The project was inspired by the experiences of volunteer librarians and committee members at the Guelph Tool Library when volunteering during the pandemic” says John, “the mandatory use of face coverings can make immediately identifying those around you difficult and can feel isolating for many. The use of ‘selfie’ buttons makes identification of volunteers and other essential workers easier.”

The search for a slow cooker found a community of connections that resulted in the best recipe for success all around. With the right ingredients, timing and opportunity, the recipe becomes richer, more robust and simply amazing. This recipe is just that, “Thirza is someone that the Guelph Tool Library members, visitors, and community partners can count on to be helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable about everything happening at the Guelph Tool Library” shares John.

With the vast amount of volunteering Thirza does with the Guelph Tool Library, one might think that she has no time for other projects. That is not the case!

“I’m currently (very, very slowly) building a tiny home in a short bus, which has been truly terrifying for someone who has little to no building experience” says Thirza, “luckily I volunteer somewhere that has literally everything I need!”

Thirza continues, “I’m educated in fine arts and hope to start my own small business soon selling the things I make, mainly embroidery maps, crocheted items and abstract paintings. But I spend most of my time being harassed by my incredibly loud cat.”

“Check out the GTL” says Thirza, “this is so much more than a place to get an angle grinder. Whether it’s a tool, a piece of knowledge, an act of support, or a friendly conversation. You’ll find what you need at the Guelph Tool Library.”

To obtain a FREE button for volunteers, email [email protected]

To learn about membership and the great initiatives of the Guelph Tool Library, visit


Posted on June 1, 2021

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